October 9, 2013
The Guardian

More Than Jihadism or Iran, China's Role in Africa is Obama's Obsession

by John Pilger

Countries are "pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world", wrote Lord Curzon, the viceroy of India, in 1898. Nothing has changed. The shopping mall massacre in Nairobi was a bloody facade behind which a full-scale invasion of Africa and a war in Asia are the great game. . . .

Today Somalia is a theme park of brutal, artificial divisions, long impoverished by World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment" programmes, and saturated with modern weapons -- notably President Obama's personal favourite, the drone. The one stable Somali government, the Islamic Courts, was "well received by the people in the areas it controlled", reported the US Congressional Research Service, "[but] received negative press coverage, especially in the west". Obama crushed it; and last January Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, presented her man to the world. "Somalia will remain grateful to the unwavering support from the United States government," effused President Hassan Mohamud. "Thank you, America." . . .

With minimal media interest, the US African Command (Africom) has deployed troops to 35 African countries, establishing a familiar network of authoritarian supplicants eager for bribes and armaments. In war games a "soldier to soldier" doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. The British did this in India. It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite -- whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the subjugation of their own people in the cause of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged". The reference also fits the son of Africa in the White House.

For Obama, there is a more pressing cause -- China. Africa is China's success story. Where the Americans bring drones, the Chinese build roads, bridges and dams. What the Chinese want is resources, especially fossil fuels. Nato's bombing of Libya drove out 30,000 Chinese oil industry workers. More than jihadism or Iran, China is Washington's obsession in Africa and beyond. This is a "policy" known as the "pivot to Asia", whose threat of world war may be as great as any in the modern era. . . .


Rachel Shabi, "NATO Accused of War Crimes in Libya," Independent, January 19, 2012

Eric Schmitt, "U.S. Weighs Base for Spy Drones in North Africa," New York Times, January 28, 2013

John Glaser, "Somalia: Obama's Other Secret War,", July 23, 2013

Paul Craig Roberts, "Obama's Syria Moment: Another Western War Crime In The Making," Counterpunch, August 27, 2013

Peter Van Buren, "Any More U.S. 'Stabilization' and Africa Will Collapse,", December 23, 2013

Ian Birrell, "Darling of the West, terror to his opponents: Meet Rwanda's new scourge - Paul Kagame,", January 3, 2014

Nick Turse, "AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly,", April 13, 2014

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